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Fresh Garlic, Jarred Garlic, Garlic Powder, and Garlic Salt: What’s the Difference?

9 August 2023

Garlic is an essential ingredient in cooking, product development, and custom spice blending. It has a strong and distinctive taste, which adds richness and depth to recipes. Furthermore, garlic is considered a flavouring agent because of its ability to enhance the flavour profile of dishes.

Garlic, however, comes in many forms, and they are not necessarily interchangeable. Rather, different garlic forms have different ideal uses. It’s important to choose the variety that best suits your new product or splice blend. After all, flavour is king, and using the incorrect garlic form can compromise the taste of your product.

In this article, we’ll take a look at fresh garlic, jarred garlic, garlic powder, and garlic salt and examine the key differences between each.

Fresh Garlic

Garlic is a herb belonging to the same family as shallots, onions, and chives called allium. A head of garlic (also called a garlic bulb) contains anywhere from 8 to 20 cloves, which pack a pungent and unique flavour. There are many species of garlic; however, all fall into one of two categories: softneck and hardneck.

Hardneck garlic has a thick, woody stalk and fewer cloves per head (8-12). Softneck, conversely, does not have a clear centre stalk and contains more cloves on average (10-20).

Fresh garlic is praised for its health benefits, as well as its bold and vibrant flavour. Many studies credit garlic with boosting the immune system, reducing blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels, and contributing to overall health.

As you might expect, fresh garlic is the most intensely flavoured form of garlic.

What is jarred garlic?

Jarred garlic contains pre-peeled, pre-minced garlic cloves. The minced garlic is jarred in a container along with other ingredients, such as water, oil, salt, sugar, and acidity regulators. Since it’s stored in a liquid, the garlic remains soft and can add moisture to dishes.

What is garlic powder?

Garlic powder is made from dried and finely ground garlic cloves. It has a flour-like consistency, so it disintegrates quickly into recipes.

Technically, granulated garlic is a type of garlic powder, although the two should not be used interchangeably. Granulated garlic has coarse granules that are closer to sand than flour. This size difference means garlic powder has a stronger flavour than granulated garlic.

What is garlic salt?

To make garlic salt, garlic cloves are dehydrated and then pulverized into a fine powder. Then, sea salt or kosher salt is added to the mixture at a ratio of 1 part garlic powder to 3 parts salt. It’s common to include an anti-caking agent, as well.

Essentially, garlic salt is just garlic powder but with salt.

Fresh Garlic vs. Jarred Garlic

Fresh garlic refers to the bundle of cloves in the head of garlic. Jarred garlic, on the other hand, is a pre-prepared garlic product. The cloves are already peeled, chopped, and preserved for easy use. Convenience is the main—and some would argue only—advantage of jarred garlic.

Ultimately, jarred garlic is not fresh, and the preservation process tends to degrade its flavour profile. Storing garlic in oil, water, salt, and other ingredients for long periods can actually change how the garlic tastes and smells. Nonetheless, preservation means jarred garlic lasts considerably longer than the fresh variety. This extended shelf life can be advantageous.

Fresh garlic is always substantially more flavourful and aromatic than its jarred counterpart. It can add a slight heat to recipes, which jarred garlic cannot do. Whole garlic cloves that are freshly minced have the strongest flavour of any garlic form.

Garlic Powder vs. Fresh Garlic

Garlic powder is simply dehydrated and finely ground cloves of fresh garlic. This process significantly extends the life of the garlic. Fresh garlic sprouts in 4-8 weeks, whereas garlic powder lasts 2-3 years on the shelf. However, like all spices and spice blends, garlic powder loses its flavour potency over time.

Since garlic powder has a flour-like consistency, it is easily incorporated and dispersed into recipes. Furthermore, you can add that distinctive garlic flavour without altering the dish’s texture. This is particularly useful in soups, salad dressings, sauces, dips, marinades, and similar products.

Fresh garlic has a more nuanced flavour profile, whereas the powdered type possesses an intense and concentrated garlic flavour.

Jarred Garlic vs. Garlic Powder

Both jarred garlic and garlic powder are convenient and have a long shelf life. Since jarred garlic is minced, it changes the texture of a recipe slightly. The dish will have chunks of garlic as well as a more mild garlic flavour.

Garlic powder provides a stronger garlic flavour that better disperses throughout the dish. Additionally, no garlic granules will be detectable.

Garlic Salt vs. Garlic Powder

Salt (and, potentially, an anti-caking agent) is the only differentiator between garlic salt and garlic powder. However, the addition of salt dramatically changes the flavour.

Garlic salt is 1 part garlic powder and 3 parts salt, so it’s more salt than garlic. Consequently, garlic salt is considered a seasoning salt, not a pure, dry seasoning. The garlic flavour is noticeably diluted, and the level of saltiness significantly is increased. If garlic salt is used as you would garlic powder, the resulting dish will be far too salty.

Note also that garlic powder and garlic salt are not interchangeable.

Hela Spice: The Top Spice Suppliers in Canada

Garlic is a powerful ingredient in all its forms. It enhances the flavour of recipes, adding a vibrancy and richness that consumers love. However, using the right garlic form in the right application is absolutely crucial.

Fortunately, the experts at Hela Spice can help you navigate garlic’s many forms and choose the right variety for your new custom spice blend or food product. We combine high-quality ingredients, innovative technologies, and custom blending experience to produce Canada’s top spice products.

To discover our custom spice blends at Hela Spice, visit us at www.helaspice.com or contact us here.

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